In early May I wrote about American outlining the process for integrating the reservations systems as part of the merger with US Airways.
This is the last big step in the merger between American and US Airways, given that the two airlines are already on a single operating certificate, so as far as the FAA is concerned they’re a single airline. From our perspective, Dividend Miles has been merged into the AAdvantage program, so the airlines already have a common frequent flyer program.
Well, American is in the process of sending out emails to AAdvantage members outlining the process of integrating reservations systems.
Key reservations system integration details
Big picture, here’s the 30 second summary of what you need to know:
- American and US Airways will be transitioning onto a single reservations system as of October 17, 2015
- That means as of October 17, 2015, US Airways flights will no longer exist — all flights will have American flight numbers, even if they’re operated by (former) US Airways planes
- Starting the week of July 18, 2015, American will begin transferring US Airways reservations for travel on or after October 17 to American, so you’ll notice changes in flight numbers
- There’s nothing you need to do during the process other than be patient, as transferring an unimaginable number of reservations will take time
Communication with members
While we might not all be fans of the merger between American & US Airways, I think there’s no denying that they’ve been doing a spectacular job with the integration in terms of managing expectations, communicating with members, etc. But I’d also certainly hope that to be the case, given that they didn’t just have Delta/Northwest and United/Continental to learn from, but also America West/US Airways.
American is in the process of emailing all AAdvantage members about the changes. Here’s the email they’re sending out to Executive Platinum members:
In March, we announced we would shift to one reservation system later this year. And now, we’re on track to transition all US Airways flights to American flights on October 17. At that time, we’ll be one airline with one website and mobile app, and we’ll have one set of travel policies and elite benefits.
We’re working hard to make sure this final milestone to becoming one airline for our customers goes smoothly. During the week of July 18, we’ll begin transferring existing US Airways reservations for travel on or after October 17. As of July 18, all flights departing on or after October 17 will be American flights.
Here’s a reminder of what you can expect on all flights as an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member beginning October 17:
- Complimentary, auto-requested upgrades on domestic flights
- Confirmed as early as 100 hours before departure
- Since all American/US Airways codeshare flights will become American marketed and operated flights, you’ll be able to use your upgrade benefits including systemwide upgrades and mileage upgrade awards
- Complimentary access to Main Cabin Extra seats, with more legroom, at time of booking
- Complimentary access to Preferred seats, which are more favorably located, at time of booking
Same-day flight change
Premium cabin meals
- Complimentary option to reserve an entrée until 24 hours before departure in First and Business Class
Scheduled on a US Airways flight departing on or after October 17? Here’s what to keep in mind:
- Once your flight becomes an American flight, we’ll send you an email with your itinerary and new record locator. Look for the subject line: “An important update to your reservation.” If you booked through a travel agent, you can view your reservation on aa.com as early as July 20.
- Upgrades on domestic flights will be auto-requested if everyone in your reservation is eligible for a complimentary upgrade. If everyone isn’t eligible, you’ll need to manually request the upgrade.
- Upgrades for a companion traveling on the same flight will need to be requested using 500-mile upgrades. If you want to upgrade a companion, make sure you request it.
- You can request upgrades on aa.com, by calling reservations or your travel agent, or at the airport on the day of travel.
As always, you can get alerts for all of your flights by signing up for BeNotified. And, you can download the American Airlines app for a more personalized mobile experience and quick access to all of your flight information.
What are the implications as an American flyer?
Even though AAdvantage is now the frequent flyer program for both American and US Airways, the exact policies do still vary depending on which airline operates the flight. This is due to the limitations of the separate reservations systems.
For example, I recently learned the hard way that US Airways doesn’t offer same day changes the same way American does. That will change once they’re on the same reservations system.
Another thing which will change is the way upgrades are processed on US Airways. As it stands, American and US Airways have different policies when it comes to offering domestic upgrades. As of October 17, American AAdvantage Gold and Platinum members will no longer receive complimentary upgrades on domestic US Airways flights of over 500 miles.
Why American’s reservations integration process makes sense
As I explained in May, American is taking a really smart approach with their reservations system integration. Rather than trying to do everything overnight, which has the potential to be disastrous, they’re doing it in stages.
Only 10% of reservations are booked more than 90 days in advance. This means that they’ll only have to switch over 10% of the reservations.
And even for those 10% of reservations they’re getting a head start on things, by putting those schedule changes in months in advance.
This is a great approach, and it should be very smooth for customers. There’s nothing we have to do on our end, other than to be patient while schedule changes are loaded. Don’t be alarmed if your post-October 17 US Airways flight doesn’t show as an American flight overnight. This is a process, and everything should work itself out.
All things considered this is greats news for customers. It means we’ll finally have true metal neutrality between the airlines.
The only potential negative is for AAdvantage Gold and Platinum members, as they’ll no longer receive complimentary domestic upgrades on domestic flights of more than 500 miles.
Are you excited for American and US Airways to be on a single reservations system?